The Alshon Jeffery experiment appears to be failing in Philadelphia. It’s been two games since he returned from a year-long foot injury and the one-time Pro Bowl receiver has zero catches on three targets. He’s seen 23 offensive snaps, one year after leading all Eagles wide receivers in yards (490) and receptions (43).
Perhaps more alarming is the fact he lay dormant on the active roster for eight games and took a potential spot away from someone else. Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas come to mind immediately or promising rookie tight end Noah Togiai. Jeffery has done little to inspire confidence, yet the Eagles insist he’s a big part of the offense. He’s still getting healthy and up to speed, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
“Well, right now he is a part of the offense,” Pederson told reporters on Monday. “He’s a part of what we’ve done and the success we’ve had here. He is coming off injury, and we do have to get him in the game a little bit more.”
When one beat reporter (he also questioned why Jeffery was on the roster) pointed out that Jeffery’s snaps are coming at the expense of some of the younger receivers on the roster, Pederson blamed himself for not spreading the reps around. For example, rookie fifth-rounder John Hightower saw just one snap on Sunday and rookie sixth-rounder Quez Watkins was a healthy scratch.
Joe Woods calls a fire zone blitz for the Browns on this third and nine.
Forces Wentz to aim for a tight window throw to Alshon Jeffery and it's broken up nicely by Denzel Ward. pic.twitter.com/WGFJvAXM1J
— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) November 23, 2020
“You know, that’s, again, on me to get him in the football game, and also Hightower at the same time,” Pederson said. “So you also knew that J.J [Arcega-Whiteside] was not available in this football game and Quez was down, so Alshon was up and active for this game.”
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Jason Peters Staying at Left Tackle Moving Forward
There have been several calls to bench Jason Peters for Jordan Mailata at left tackle. Peters, of course, posted the worst Pro Football Focus grade of his brilliant 17-year NFL career on Sunday.
He seemed to be single-handedly responsible for at least three sacks. The film showed it wasn’t all Peters’ fault, per Pederson, and the head coach isn’t ready to strip him of his starting job.
“Yeah, he’s our left tackle moving forward,” Pederson said. “Look, there were a lot of things, several things that sort of stood out after watching the film from a number of positions, not just one specific spot or aspect of the game, offensively.”
Sua Opeta Jumps Nate Herbig on Depth Chart
Nate Herbig missed last week’s game due to a finger injury but he appeared to be a healthy scratch against Cleveland. The Eagles chose to start Matt Pryor at right guard since Isaac Seumalo was back at left guard. The latter position had been Herbig’s spot for a good chunk of Seumalo’s time on IR.
It seemed like Herbig had the trust of the coaching staff, too. Apparently not. According to Pederson, Sua Opeta has moved ahead of him for the reserve guard spot and Herbig isn’t injured.
Doug Pederson just said Sua Opeta is ahead of Nate Herbig. It sounds simply like Herbig was benched.
I don't get it.
— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) November 23, 2020
“Herbie is doing fine. He’s doing well,” Pederson said. “Each week, he’s competing for one of those backup spots right now, or potentially a starter spot if there is an injury each week. There is nothing more to it. Opeta has deserved the opportunity right now.”
Opeta was thrown into action after Pryor switched to right tackle in relief of Lane Johnson (shoulder). Pryor took over for Jack Driscoll who lasted just six snaps at right tackle. The Eagles’ ongoing offensive line shuffle remains an underlying storyline to the 2020 campaign.
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